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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Got a Value Proposition? Here’s Why You Should

July 28, 2021
Got a Value Proposition? Here’s Why You Should


Got a product or service to sell? Then your company has value beyond the sale. Innovative companies communicate this value, directly and indirectly, every time they send a direct mail piece, blast an email, or design packaging for their products. How do they do that? It starts with creating a value proposition.


1. Create a value proposition. 

A value proposition is what your company promises to deliver should people choose to buy your product. Ideally, it is something distinctive to you. 

Let’s say you are a boutique furniture store selling pieces crafted from reclaimed wood, metal, or architectural salvage. Your value proposition might be: “We offer unique pieces that fit your style while reducing the burden on our landfills.” Your customers could buy furniture anywhere. By communicating your value proposition, you are explaining why they should come to you. This concept applies to any market. If you’re a plumber, your value proposition might be, “We show up within a 15-minute window—or your money back.” If you’re a dental office, it might be, “We are the friendliest dental practice in town.”


2. Fulfill on that promise—every time. 

Once you communicate your value proposition, fulfill it every time. Fill your dental office with happy, colorful wall stickers and train your staff to serve with a smile, even when they’re having a terrible day. Always have a backup plan in case a plumbing job runs long. By ensuring consistency between your marketing message and your customers’ experience, you create a sense of trust and loyalty. In a world filled with uncertainty, that has value far beyond the products and services themselves. 


3. Speak to customers based on that value proposition. 

Reinforce that value in your marketing images and messaging. “By purchasing from us, you have helped to keep 3,000 pounds of scrap wood, metal, and glass out of the landfill.” Create brochures with images of children with dazzling smiles and parent testimonials about the helpfulness of your dental staff. On your direct mail pieces, add online reviews about the promptness of your plumbing service. 

By communicating a value proposition and creating consistency between that value and your customer experiences, you develop loyal customers who trust you—and who keep coming back. 


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Monday, July 19, 2021

The Art of a Showstopping Direct Mail Piece

July 19, 2021
The Art of a Showstopping Direct Mail Piece


What once was old is now new again. For example, the once-forgotten record players and Polaroid cameras have made a comeback in recent years. That’s because these items are now a novelty—something that’s not done as often or the norm. 

In the world of marketing, consumers are no different. People want to be wowed with something original that differs from what they expect in their day-to-day life. In a world where emails ding every five minutes, send your customers a message the old fashioned way—using direct mail, A.K.A. snail mail. Direct mail marketing is still a top contender for marketing success, and it’s sure to be a showstopper when done correctly. Check out these tips to make sure your direct mailer gets noticed in the mailbox.


Use a Unique Size or Shape

For your mailpiece, it’s important to think bigger, or differently, than a normal letter. Direct mail pieces are more likely to be opened when they catch the eye of your audience. It’s time to think outside the box, or in this case, outside of the standard-sized envelope. Consider a unique cut-out or a shape that matches your messaging. For example, if your marketing theme involves reaching for the stars, send a star-shaped mailer. Think of how you could incorporate shapes into your mailer.


Create an Eye-Catching Design

Loud colors aren’t necessarily a bad idea for direct mail. Sometimes, the color scheme or design can add a unique element to your direct mail piece and make it stand out in the mailbox. Other elements to consider include well-thought-out infographics or imagery that draws the eye to your messaging. Make sure to stick with your brand guidelines and use the same branding and fonts you normally use for consistency.


Develop Clear Messaging

There’s only so much time to capture the attention of your audience. We’re living in a digital age, which means attention spans are dwindling, and you only have a few seconds to reel in your audience. It’s important to strike the right balance of creativity and essential messaging. Don’t leave your audience scratching their heads searching for the meaning of the mailer!


Write a Concise Call to Action

Now that you’ve delivered your message in a creative and well-designed package, what’s next? Your audience needs to know what action you’d like them to take. Sometimes, it’s simply that you want them to visit a landing page and “learn more.” Other times, you can create a sense of urgency and ask the audience to act quickly before the deal expires. Consider where the audience should go from here.


Ensure Your Lists are Correct

Your direct mailpiece may be signed and sealed, but it also has to be delivered. Your marketing efforts are as good as failed if the address or information you have on file is incorrect. That’s why it’s important to keep updated and clear lists. Your content and marketing should be so enticing that your audience wants to keep your business updated when they have a new address or updated information. 

However, sometimes you’ll need to be proactive with your outreach to ensure your records are up to date. Consider adding prompts to emails or at checkout to ensure information for your customers is current. That way, they won’t feel like you’re reaching out only to send them the latest marketing deal. 


Now that your business is on your way to the direct mailer of your dreams, start cleaning up your customer lists and get to designing! With these tips, your outside-the-box direct mailer will be a showstopper and a hit in the mailbox.


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Monday, June 28, 2021

How and Why You Should Be Using Brand Archetypes

June 28, 2021
How and Why You Should Be Using Brand Archetypes



In order to market your business in the best way possible, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of your brand. That’s where brand archetypes come in. Simply put, a brand archetype is an example or a persona that your company resembles. Psychologist Carl Jung developed 12 brand archetypes which can help you understand your brand and tell your story in a more human way.

You don’t have to fit into just one archetype, and your brand can and should evolve over time. However, brand archetypes can be a great starting point to help you understand how to present yourself to the world, your strengths and areas of opportunity. Check out the twelve brand archetypes below, along with why you should consider using archetypes in your branding and marketing strategy. 


Why Brand Archetypes? 

Brand archetypes help give your marketing and branding a personality, along with helping your company build deeper connections with your audience and set itself apart from competitors. By taking the time to understand your business’s archetype, you’re one step closer to understanding how you can use your strengths in your voice, branding and more.


The 12 Archetypes

While the 12 archetypes are grouped together below, each one has its own nuances. When reading below, consider which group you think your business may identify with the most. Then, how it can help you bring your strengths into your marketing. 


  • The Innocent: Creates happiness, spreads optimism and simplifies/purifies life. Example brands include: Coca-Cola, Snuggle, Dove
  • The Everyman: Seeks to relate, belong, be accepted and accept others; is recognized as a realist and a friend. Example brands include: IKEA, Levi’s, Charles Schwab
  • The Hero: Improving the world through expert mastery and courageous acts, the Hero is a warrior, a champion, a victor. Example brands include: Nike, FedEx, U.S. Marine Corps
  • The Maverick: Overturns what isn’t working, wants freedom from establishment. The Maverick is revolutionary and an outlaw. Example brands include: Harley-Davidson, Urban Outfitters, MTV
  • The Explorer: Explorers want to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life of freedom. Example brands include: North Face, Jeep, Starbucks
  • The Creator: Goal is to realize a vision, hone artistic skill, express themselves and promote individuality. Example brands include: Canon, LEGO, YouTube
  • The Ruler: Create a prosperous, successful community by creating authority and promoting an exclusive lifestyle. Example brands include: Louis Vuitton, Rolex, Rolls Royce
  • The Magician: Wishing to make dreams come true, the Magician helps others transform their lives using new methods. Example brands include: TED, Disney, Lululemon
  • The Lover: Wants a relationship with the people and helps people connect to their desires and heart. Example brands include: Victoria’s Secret, NARS, Haagen Dazs
  • The Caregiver: Helps and takes care of others; servant, martyr, mother. Example brands include: Johnson & Johnson, Campbell’s Soup, TOMS
  • The Jester: Has a great time and lightens up the world. Gets others to enjoy life to the fullest. Example brands include: Dorito’s, Dollar Shave Club, M&Ms
  • The Sage: Committed to understanding the world and teaching others, the Sage seeks information and knowledge through self-reflection, research and objectivity.. Example brands include: Google, Wall Street Journal, Morgan Stanley


In order to engage with your audience to the world, first you should truly understand who you are and how you can best play to your strengths. Think of language you currently use to market your business and ask yourself if your marketing tactics have been successful to date. Using an archetype as a guide will give your brand consistency of message and promote a sense of deep loyalty within your customers.


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Monday, June 21, 2021

Brush Off Your Networking Skills to Create New Opportunities

June 21, 2021
Brush Off Your Networking Skills to Create New Opportunities


Let’s face it—social skills haven’t exactly been a top priority this past year. The pandemic forced us to quarantine, avoid crowds and work virtually from home. While we all learned new skills, there are others that fell to the wayside—like networking. 

Now that mandates are being lifted and life as we once knew it is slowly coming back into view, it’s time to adapt to a new way of making connections and networking. Check out how you can get back into the swing of things with some tips and tricks for your next networking opportunity.


Find Your Comfort Level 

If there’s anything we’ve learned from the global pandemic, it’s that virtual and technology are the ways of the future. Now that restrictions are lifting, virtual options are here to stay. For your business, consider the doors that virtual networking opens. You can suddenly connect with potential customers or business partners that you might not have met in your own city.

There is also something to be said about the connections you can make in-person. Decide your comfort level with networking in-person versus virtually and stick to it. Many conferences or networking opportunities are now offering both options. 


Make a Good Impression

First impressions are important and often hard to come back from if you don’t get off on the right foot. Ensure that you are wearing clothing that makes you feel confident and is also appropriate for the type of event you’re attending. If in-person and others are comfortable, greet those around you with a handshake and look directly into their eyes. If you’re virtual, ensure that background distractions are minimal and your surroundings are professional. 


Spruce Up Your Business Cards

First impressions are brief, which is why you should print a memorable business card. Consider a fun shape or colors to truly make your business card stand out. Make sure to include a link or a scannable QR code (just point your phone’s camera at the code and it opens up a website!) to your personal website or business, depending on your intended reason for networking. 


Practice Ahead of Time

If you’re worried about building connections and avoiding the awkward after hunkering down for months, remember that practice makes perfect. Call up a friend just to talk. Have a conversation with yourself in the mirror (it’ll stay between you and the mirror!). While it may sound a little silly at first, it can help warm you up for conversations later. You can also prepare by thinking about what you hope to get out of the networking session and what you’d like others to take away from your experience. Preparation is key! 


Bring a Friend

Life is easier with a friend by your side. Find somebody willing to attend the networking event with you. This can help you play off of your friend’s energy, and vice versa. It’s much easier to feel more confident when you have somebody standing by your side that you trust. Before you know it, you’ll both be networking pros! 


Now that you’re getting back out there, remember to have fun and relax! Confidence is key when it comes to networking. Take time to actively listen to those around you for the best chance at building true and meaningful connections. You’ve got this!


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Monday, June 7, 2021

QR Codes in a Pandemic World: What They Can Do for You

June 07, 2021
QR Codes in a Pandemic World: What They Can Do for You


In today’s world, where social distancing and extra health precautions have become part of everyday life, consumers are embracing touchless options for interacting with their favorite brands. It’s no surprise, then, that QR Codes are on the rise.

QR Codes are those checkerboard-looking boxes you see in places like direct mail, packaging, and posters that, when scanned using the camera on a mobile phone, take buyers directly to mobile-optimized content. According to a poll conducted by MobileIron, more than half of respondents (54%) have seen an increase in QR Code usage since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and more than two-thirds (67%) agree that QR Codes “make life easier in a touchless world."

While many marketers know that QR Codes can take buyers to an online video or mobile landing page, many do not realize that they can do much more. Here are nine things you might not know that a QR Code can do.

1. Add a contact listing. Simply by scanning the QR Code, you can add someone’s full contact information directly into your phone. Great for business cards.

2. Make a phone call. Scan the code and the phone dials for you. Perfect for direct mail, catalogs, and product literature.

3. Send a text. QR Codes can make text-back marketing easy. Use for nonprofit fundraising, sign-ups (“Text MORNINGS123 for today’s coffee specials"), and sweepstakes entries.

4. Write an email. Want people to email comments, suggestions, and questions? Use a QR Code to launch the email and pre-fill the address. Try on employee or customer feedback posters.

5. Make a payment. Use secure QR Codes to allow customers to make contactless payments. Scan the code and the phone does the rest.

6. Open a webpage. Send people directly to landing pages designed specifically for that campaign. Restaurants have found this particularly useful for linking people directly to online menus and online ordering.

7. Create a calendar event. Add your seminar, lunch-and-learn, or presentation directly to prospects’ calendars.

8. Follow social media accounts. Make it easy for people to connect with you on social media simply by scanning the code.

9. Add a preferred Wi-Fi network. Great for hotels, cafes, and other places where you want to improve customer experience (CX) and make people feel welcome. 


How many of these uses would benefit your marketing right now? Let’s try them!  Give us a call any time to put your QR code idea into action.


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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Signs It’s Time to Update Your Marketing Plan

June 01, 2021
Signs It’s Time to Update Your Marketing Plan


Spring may be coming to an end but it’s never too late for a little spring cleaning—especially when it comes to your marketing plan. By this time in the year, many of us have let our resolutions fly out the window or even forgotten to follow up on some of our goals. Life is busy, so we get it! Use this as a time to check in on your marketing plan and goals. If any of the situations below sound like your current marketing efforts, it’s time to get to updating! 


1. You Aren’t Sure Who Developed the Playbook

“Because this is how it has always been done.” This is the dreaded phrase from a supervisor stuck in their ways. Maybe they aren’t even sure why your marketing plan is done the way you do it now. Consider a freeform brainstorming session where you consider new and innovative ways to reach your end user. It opens up the dialogue to try some things you’ve never tried before! 


2. You Are Ignoring Emerging Trends

It’s time to try something new. Assign somebody on your team to research emerging marketing trends every so often, or split the work and take turns reminding each other. That way, you can be one step ahead of your competitors. There is always a new social media trend coming, or a new way of reaching potential customers. Think about it—social media didn’t even exist 20 years ago. You never know what the next big thing will be that could change the world. 


3. Your Website Existed When the Internet Was Created

Okay, it probably hasn’t been that long since you’ve updated your marketing plan or site. But if you haven’t given any thought to your website since you uploaded your logo and first post, it’s time to get back to it. Your marketing plan should include content marketing on a regular basis to help establish yourself as an expert in your industry. Posting regularly helps keep your business’s name in the conversation. Plus, make sure your website design looks updated and fresh.


4. You Only Do Certain Types of Marketing

Maybe your business said, “out with the old, in with the new” a long time ago and ditched traditional marketing methods. While that sounds good in theory, successful marketing campaigns have been shown to be a mixture of cross-functional channels. 

Sure, there are some tactics you can kick to the curb that won’t work for your business. There’s a reason “jack of all trades, master of none” is a saying. Pick a few things you can do really well, and work on perfecting them. From there, you can continue to expand your marketing repertoire with what works for your business. 


5. You Aren’t Tracking Your Campaigns

It’s impossible to implement your marketing campaigns with a proven strategy if you haven’t been tracking the success of your past or current campaigns. Not tracking means you don’t know what’s working and what isn’t getting the job done. While you can read up on marketing best practices and tactics, every business is unique. Use as many analytics as you can to evaluate what types of marketing gets you the best bang for your buck. 


You’ve always had what it takes to produce a killer marketing plan, it just takes practice and regular updates. Like everything in life, your marketing plan simply needs some love and attention. Make sure to set reminders to evaluate your plan every quarter to see if anything has changed.


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Monday, May 24, 2021

Email Marketing Hacks for Your Small Business

May 24, 2021
Email Marketing Hacks for Your Small Business


Small business marketers are scrappy in the best way. That’s because one minute they're the chief marketer, and the next they’re putting out another metaphorical fire. Small business team members wear so many hats that they need to be experts at a variety of tasks and jobs, including marketing. 

According to the website Small Business Trends, 54 percent of small business owners polled in one study said that email marketing was their most important marketing tool to help increase sales. That’s why it’s necessary to embrace the digital artform that is email marketing. Check out the tips below to ensure you’re getting the most from your email marketing efforts. 


Send an Incentive to New Subscribers

New subscribers to your email newsletter are the perfect opportunity to strike while the iron is hot, as they say. A person has just shown interest in your business by signing up to continue getting email offers and information from you. That means they may be closer to buying than others. Offer some sort of incentive, like a discount on their first order or an incentive to buy a recurring subscription. This will help your new subscriber take the plunge to buy while your business is still top of mind. 


Strike the Right Balance

Sending the right amount of emails is an art form. You don’t want to spam your followers, and you also don’t want them to scratch their heads when they receive an email and wonder who you are because they haven’t heard from you in ages. 

Alway exercise the thought that the quality of your emails matters more than the quantity. If you don’t have anything new to say or offer every week, don’t try to fill content just for the sake of filling content. Your recipients will come to understand that when they get your emails, the content is worth reading. Otherwise, your mail may automatically end up in the virtual trash. 


Offer Smart Options to Reduce Emails

While you are required to have an opt-out option on the bottom of your email messages, you can also offer opportunities to let your audience tailor their experience. For example, one of your potential customers could only be interested in one facet of your business and would only like to receive emails on that particular topic. Instead of having that customer opt out of all emails, give them options to update their preferences before they leave. 


Give a Clear Call to Action

One of the easiest and best ways to make your email marketing successful is to offer next steps. If you’re offering a sale, direct your users how to shop that sale. If you want them to watch a promotional video, give them a button that takes them directly to the video. Whatever you’re hoping to achieve, let your audience know exactly how they can follow up with you and continue to reach out.


Email marketing gives you the opportunity to reach your target audience virtually and with little cost. When done correctly, email marketing can be a lucrative tactic for your small business. Remember to send content worth sending, provide an incentive and offer next steps to follow up. Before you know it, you’ll be winning over hearts one email at a time.


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